Poem: A Distinct Lack of Face Paint

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A Distinct Lack of Face Paint

A table at the window,
covered with small jars of paint and powder.
The silvered mirror is grey and pitted with disuse.

You have long ago learned what you are.
There are no more roles to play.
No scars to hide.

You wear them, if not proudly, at least without shame,
the stage long behind you, a failed career of make-believe,
the costumes and regalia packed away.

It is more than your skin that is wrinkled.
Your soul too, bears its marks
and you are content to be the character life has made you.

A bit role.
A life here and there touched.
No more.

It is enough to be the ugly one.
The invisible one. Or at least nearly so.
There is peace in it, a lack of need

to create magic where there is none,
and to be content
to live magic, where it comes of its own accord.

The sun rises. Slowly the window lightens.
You can see yourself, neither as beautiful or ugly
as you imagine.

Let the circus continue!
Let the barkers cry out their mysteries and false promises!
The show never ends!

For them the paint.
For me, much less,
and much more.

About this poem

Like many of us, it took me a time to learn to be authentic, instead of an actor on someone else’s stage. Strange magic, becoming yourself, finding yourself.

Strange, but wonderful magic.


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